FRISCO, Texas – Ricardo Villar might have woken up the sorest man in the country on Wednesday morning. After going 45 minutes in FC Dallas’ friendly against Club León on Sunday, the Brazilian midfielder quickly turned around to put in 90 minutes in a 1-0 Reserve League win over the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday.
But after waiting nearly six months to make a full 90-minute appearance, he wouldn’t trade away this soreness for anything.
“It’s a soreness that you enjoy,” Villar said after Tuesday’s win. “Because it comes without pain as far as the injury.”
The 33-year-old got off to a solid start this season, scoring two goals in the first five games of the year but a hard challenge from Shalrie Joseph in an April 5 game against the New England Revolution – a challenge that earned Joseph a suspension – left Villar with a foot injury, derailing what looked to be a promising campaign.
The Brazilian attempted a comeback in mid-July, but re-aggravated the injury and has sat out the last nine games. With a game and a half under his belt this week, however, Villar looks set to return to the bench for Dallas in their all-important match with the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend.
“If I am [to play on Saturday], I’ve got to recover this week, get my legs back and the minutes that I get in try to make an impact with a sharp pass or a shot,” Villar said. “I just want to help the team however it’s needed.”
On Tuesday night against Colorado, Villar played at the top of what became a diamond midfield for FCD, creating a few chances and showing flashes of the skills that have been sorely missed, especially when David Ferreira was also injured.
“There was times where it looked like he was getting to that point where he was starting to tank and then all of a sudden he put in four or five more sprints,” reserve team head coach Marco Ferruzzi said after the game. “Even towards the end of the game, he was still getting forward and keeping us in possession up the field, taking some of the pressure off the midfield. That was good to see and I think he’s getting sharper and sharper each week. We’ve been waiting for him all year. “
With FC Dallas sitting one place out of a Western Conference playoff berth, every game of their five-game sprint to the finish will need to be treated as a championship game. A healthy Villar could be the spark off the bench to score a much-needed late goal. And now that his body is finally up to speed structurally, all that’s left is getting the fitness levels back.
“I feel fine body-wise, it’s just that my legs are heavy and things like that,” Villar said. “You miss [the fitness] when you leave for awhile, but I’m hoping to be back soon enough because we only have five games left and there’s no other option. I’ve got to try and help.”